Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday launched the Operation Clean Portal to enable citizen engagement for creating a tax compliant society and transparent tax administration. During the launch, Jaitley said the number of persons under the tax net has increased by 91 lakh as unaccounted cash lost anonymity post demonetisation. On November 8 last year, the government scrapped high value 500 and 1,000-rupee notes.
‘Operation Clean Money’, is a programme to bring illegal wealth on books. Jaitley added that the fallout of the November 8 decision to demonetise higher denomination currency has increased movement towards digitisation, number of assessees going up and tax revenue jumping as also fear of dealing in cash being instilled.
The Operation Clean Money was initiated by the Income Tax Department (ITD) on January 31, 2017 with the launch of e-verification of large cash deposits made during November 9 to December 30, 2016. In the first phase, around 18 lakh persons were identified in whose case, cash transactions did not appear in line with the tax payer’s profile. There has been an encouraging response to the online verification process and more than 9.72 lakh taxpayers submitted their response without visiting Income tax office up to May 12, 2017. These taxpayers have provided response for 13.33 lakh accounts involving cash deposits of around Rs. 2.89 lakh crore. The online responses have been assessed and no further action will be taken in cases of satisfactory explanation.
CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra, who was also present at the launch of the website, said there was 22 per cent growth in e-filed returns post demonetisation.
Salient features of the Operation Clean Money Portal
– Providing comprehensive information at one place consisting of Step by Step Guides, Frequently asked Questions, User Guides, Quick Reference Guides and Training Toolkits related to verification process and other issues.
– Enabling Citizen Engagement for creating a tax compliant society where every Indian takes pride in paying taxes. Citizens would be able to support the Operation Clean Money by taking pledge, contribute by engaging and educating fellow citizens, and share their experiences and provide feedback.
– Enabling Transparent Tax Administration by sharing status reports (including sanitized cases and explanation of verification issues) and thematic analysis reports (e.g. taxpayer segment analysis of cash deposit data).
The ITD on-boarded two specialised data analytics agencies and a business process management agency to augment departmental capability in analyzing large volumes of cash deposit data, track the compliance status of taxpayers and reporting entities.
Phase II of Operation Clean Money
High risk cases will be handled by selecting appropriate enforcement action (verification, search, survey, scrutiny). A targeted campaign will be initiated in cases with identified risk issues.
The key components of the targeted campaign are:
-Communication of specific issue through digital channels (Email, SMS etc.)
-Providing detailed explanation to create environment of transparency
-Sharing investigation findings for specific segments (e.g. Jewellers, petrol pump, traders, property purchasers etc.)
-Centralised monitoring and gradual escalation of inadequate response cases for enforcement action
With the continuous flow of information from various sources including Statement of Financial Transactions (SFT), the ITD is conducting analysis in conjunction with previously available/analysed data. Such incremental data analysis has already led to identification of new cases for e-verification. Furthermore, ITD has also identified 3.71 lakh new accounts relating to 1.58 lakh taxpayers who made partial declaration of accounts/amounts in their earlier responses. In addition to the earlier 18 lakh cases, 5.68 lakh new cases have been identified for e-verification process.